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London mayor ‘not satisfied’ by Met chief’s explanation for ‘completely unacceptable’ policing at vigil

Written by on 14/03/2021

The mayor of London has said images which emerged after last night’s vigil for Sarah Everard are “unacceptable” – and says he is “not satisfied” with the explanation he has received from the head of the Metropolitan Police.

In a statement, Sadiq Khan said: “The scenes arising from the policing of the vigil for Sarah Everard held on Clapham Common last night were completely unacceptable. My thoughts remain with Sarah’s family at this awful time.

“I can completely understand why women, girls and allies wanted to hold a vigil to remember Sarah and all women who have been subjected to violence or lost their lives at the hands of men, and to reclaim the public spaces where women are made to feel so unsafe.

“Last week I called on the Government and police to work with the organisers of the vigil to clarify the law and find a way for it to take place legally and safely. On Friday a High Court judge made clear there was a window to agree a way for a vigil to go ahead safely.

“I received assurances from the Metropolitan Police last week that the vigil would be policed sensitively. In my view, this was not the case.

“I asked the Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner to come into City Hall today to give me an explanation of yesterday’s events and the days leading up to them. I am not satisfied with the explanation they have provided.

“I will now be asking Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary [HMIC] to conduct a full independent investigation of events yesterday evening and in previous days. I am also asking the Independent Office for Police Conduct [IOPC] to investigate the actions of police officers yesterday evening.

“It is vital that these events are not allowed to undermine the powerful calls since Sarah’s murder for meaningful action to finally stop men inflicting violence on women. It was clear before yesterday that there isn’t adequate trust and confidence from women and girls in the police and criminal justice system more widely. Further steps must now be taken to address this.”

 Sky News

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